Platform Conference Recap 5/10: Cliff Ravenscraft – Podcast Passion

Iyou’ve ever stumbled onto podcasts on your iTunes, iPod, or Android device one name will soon jump out at you.  Cliff Ravenscraft.  The man has been podcasting for a long time.  He could be the urban dictionary definition of a prolific podcaster with well over 3,000 to his credit to date.  I will not go into all of what he does, but do yourself a favour and visit his website and listen to a few.  You will immediately be hooked as I was years ago by the passion that almost jumps from the speakers when you listen to him.  Passion as it turns out was the topic of his presentation, the fifth to our Platform Conference.  Read on.

Microphone on stage with spotlight on red curtain

Cliff’s life story is inextricably intertwined with his passion for podcasting. He was brutally honest at the conference. You get the sense that he is this honest in all he does. It is refreshingly candid. Cliff spoke of the debt he brought to his marriage. He spoke of his calling to the ministry in the Nazarene church. He spoke of the pull of his family to work in their insurance business. In essence, Cliff is a guy like you and I. Torn.  Struggling to discern the way forward…and all the while feeling the pull to pursue the road less travelled. In his case it was podcasting.

Why podcasting? Again with the candor displayed earlier, and in a room full of prolific writers, he admitted that it was because he really did not enjoy writing. He loved talking!

How did he start? It was Lost. No, really. Lost, the ABC-TV series. Cliff will tell you that he is all things geek and with that came a passion for the new at the time series called Lost. He discovered that there were already a couple of podcasts on the show, and in short order decided to do one himself. In 2005 he was up an running with Generally Speaking Podcast Network (GSPN) which morphed into a number of specialized podcasts that served all his passions. In fact, the learning that he came upon over many years was that his true calling in life was to Entertain, Educate, Encourage, and Inspire others.

Aside from not being so totally in love with writing, why did he gravitate to podcasting? Being somewhat of a geek myself I would love to think it had something to do with all the kit that you need to set up and tweak in order to really do it right. What he said was so much better. He podcasts because he feels that the listener can hear his genuine passion. He can form a relationship with people who connect with him in his many podcasts as he exudes enthusiasm … passion for the subject he is speaking on. In his opinion there is no way that a typical blog post can make that personal connection. Mainly, though, in podcasting Cliff manages to avoid the bane of a writers existance….the Special Apostrophe Unit of the Grammar Police.

The facts are quite staggeringly in favour of podcasting.

  • 128.3 million commuters of various kinds
  • 97 million drivers commuting to work
  • 26.2 minute average commute time
  • 45.5 million members of gyms
  • 80% have phones (the most common podcast delivery system)
  • +1 billion smartphones in use globally (anyone, anywhere, can listen)

At the end of the day how often can one listen to ‘Diamonds’ by Rihanna before you realize a bit of your mind is being lost each reply and you seek knowledge and the comfort of a passionate community that is centered around your interests.  This is why we now see the resurgence of podcasting, with podcasters like Cliff at the lead.

Did all the current success come easy?  No.  It never does. There is no such thing as the overnight success story.  The resistance that has been spoken off in earlier recap post ate at him.  The first years of development of his business were spent working a full time job in his family owned insurance firm.  Over time he ended up feeling like he was stealing from the company with the amount of time he was devoting to the burgeoning podcasting work he was doing ‘on the side’.  He made a decision to give up the podcasts and focus on the insurance business.  It lasted a week.  Why?  It took just a few days to realize that this was not where his passion was leading him.  In Cliff’s honest way he described how this manifested itself in wanting nothing more than sleep.  He was totally dejected and lost.  He came to realize that he was never more alive than when he was behind a microphone. The experienced helped him make the decision to eventually leave the family business.  He had come to discern his true passion in life.  That we can all be so lucky eventually, right?

Over the years Cliff has evolved from selling podcasting equipment directly and producing dozens of podcasts to focussing on around nine core podcasts and selling equipment through affiliate links.  It has allowed him to better serve his continually growing subscriber base.   Now he attributes much of his success to PASSION and feels that this FLOWS from helping OTHERS experience success.  How cool is that?

Podcasting is here to stay.  Its growing.  It is a powerful way to connect with an audience and expand your platform.  Personally I have not done any podcasting.  That said, I did pick up the highly recommended Roland R-05 recorder and downloaded Audacity audio editing software with the intention of dabbling a bit in this area as the opportunity presents itself.  It is appealing to me as on reflection most of the early and continued learning I have had that is reflected in my blog to date has come from podcasts I have listened to while running, or driving.  If I (or you) have something to say, why not say it also in a podcast?

Do you have a favourite podcast that you listen to?  Have you ever considered that you have something to offer a wider audience but writing has been the stumbling block?  Share your thoughts on these questions, and on your experiences listening to Cliff in particular in a comment.  I would really appreciate the feedback.

My sixth recap post will be on the presentation by Andrew Buckman.  Yeah yeah….who’s he you ask.  Well, Andrew, is the proverbial glue that binds Michael Hyatt’s online presence together. I’m sure there are other tech folks on the team, but Andrew spoke next on 10 Things Your Doing Wrong on Your Website.  Thought provoking and interesting   I hope you will come back to read that recap.  To be alerted when recap six or any new post is published please subscribe to my blog (and tell your friends).

I live in the Cayman Islands and I'm married to Christina. We have two incredible children, Ryan, attending Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and Taylor, attending Trinity College School, in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. I own several businesses in Cayman. My list of 'pasts' include past chairman of the Cayman Islands Special Economic Zone Authority, past president of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, and past president of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce.

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4 thoughts on “Platform Conference Recap 5/10: Cliff Ravenscraft – Podcast Passion

  1. David, Thank you so much for the coverage form my Platform Presentation. You did a great job of capturing the essence of my message! It was great to meet you in Nashville and I look forward to keeping it touch.

  2. Keep on sharing. I used to listen to tons of podcasts when I had a 35″ each way commute to East End, but now I struggle to get through my one remaining favourite weekly podcast before the next one comes in. An interesting angle on that is that it is a movie review show from the BBC that goes out live on radio each Friday. However, they have built such a huge and loyal global podcast audience that the show is now geared more to the podcasters than the radio audience, including shout outs to movie start and others around the world, and far less emphasis than usual on talk radio on getting live interaction via text, email etc. Podcasting is definitely here to stay… and of course Gary Vaynerchuk built his brand on vodcasting !

  3. David…thank you for sharing all of this insightful information that you learned while attending the Platform conference… There is a lot of awesome information that you are sharing and I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to put it together so concise and in a format that is so easy to read…I look forward to reading the next 5 posts:)